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The Spring 2022 Manga Guide
The Saga of Lioncourt

What's It About? 

Tadashi Tanaka is your typical office worker. However, cancer brings his life to an abrupt end at the age of forty-one. Seemingly coming to awareness posthumously, he finds himself standing in a world resembling medieval Europe. Much like the Middle Ages, there are no furnaces here, people eat with their hands, and pigs roam free in the streets. Worst of all, wars between nations are an everyday occurrence.

Now, Tadashi Tanaka must live his second life as Varian de Lioncourt. Can an ordinary office worker survive in this cruel world? Varian's rise to power begins here!

The Saga of Lioncourt is based on the light novel series by Hiroaki Ogura and toi8. The manga is drawn by Nagy with English translation by JCT. J-Novel Club will release its first volume digitally on May 31.

Is It Worth Reading?

Rebecca Silverman


The Saga of Lioncourt is fantasy in the same way that A Song of Ice and Fire is – there are definite fantasy (and in this case isekai) elements to it, but it's really much more historical fiction set in the Medieval era. While that doesn't have to mean a tale of brutality, in this case it absolutely does, something that the author uses to show how modern Japanese man Tadashi Tanaka changes from his first life self into someone capable of surviving in an age much more violent than his own. That means that the book gets more grim and brutal as it goes on, and while I understand what the story's going for, I have to admit that I rather prefer the first half of the volume.

On the other hand, it's interesting to see an isekai work actively undermine the more common tropes of the genre. When we first meet the hero, he's just awoken to his past life as Tadashi, which in this case means the complete loss of Varian de Lioncourt's original memories. Everyone notices this, and their reactions lead Tadashi to realize that Varian must have been a total brat, and a violent one at that. His first thoughts are that he needs to learn about his new world and to maybe start to make it better, i. e. more modern. He doesn't treat the slaves as inferiors, he sets out to understand the local religion, and he gets help making a washboard to make laundry easier. It's all very heartwarming until his father realizes what's going on and decides that Varian needs to man up (in the worst sense of the term) and learn to kill like a proper Medieval warrior.

It's disheartening and difficult to see Tadashi undergo a transformation into Varian, although it's very likely necessary to his survival, especially since he's turned down the opportunity to study at a monastery and join the priesthood. Honestly, that may have been the better route for him to take if he really wanted to make changes. But now he's stuck with Albert the Psycho as his sword teacher, and those dreams are gone, at least for the time being. It's hard to read about, even if it makes perfect sense for the world Varian lives in, and even if some of the things Albert makes him do are in line with historical practices. And Varian's older brother Robert is still a nice guy despite having had to do similar things, so there's almost certainly hope for Varian. But if violence and gritty Medieval tales aren't your thing, this may not be the series for you. On the other hand, if you're looking for something darker and grimmer in your isekai, you absolutely ought to check this out, because even if it moves a bit too fast, it's an interesting verson of the genre.

Jean-Karlo Lemus


At first, The Saga of Lioncourt was pleasant but unremarkable. There was a good bit of pathos courtesy of Tadashi's tragic death from cancer and him trying to make the best of his life as a child in a fantasy world. It's cute seeing him learn and grow, and trying to find ways to help the people around him—especially since it seems before Tadashi came around, “Varian” was a little brat. There's some consternation when Tadashi brings up giving rights to serfs, being that he's appalled by the nature of slavery and the inhumane conditions from everything around him—a frighteningly-rare detail in isekai, but an appreciable one.

Anyway, seven-year-old Varian is forced to kill dogs and a sickly slave woman because “that's how the world works, humans are animals”, and that's the end of the first volume.

It's a swerve, and a shocking one—I'll give The Saga of Lioncourt that much. The scene is played for horror, fully impressing upon Varian that he's no longer in his comfortable, civilized world. But also, I just about cut myself on that edge. Sure, I don't expect a seven-year-old to successfully upend ingrained societal beliefs, but we're already reading a story about a guy reincarnating as a kid; realism flew out the window a while ago. toi8's character designs make me happy, and I would like to see how Varian balances his education with his bloodthirst, but I don't see myself with too many reasons to seek out more of The Saga of Lioncourt.



One of the main things that stood out to me about this manga is its sense of style. Aggressive pencil marks with deeply angular faces and a surprisingly good amount of shadow lends the artwork a very rustic edge that matches the roughness of the time that this world seems to be harkening back to. There is a lot of action, but the violence and intensity of certain actions and scenes are very distinct. It's frankly invigorating, to the point where I feel like I can almost recommend this to fans of Berserk and Vinland Saga just based on the aesthetic alone.

The story itself is incredibly simple despite taking a turn that I originally didn't expect. At first glance, this story seems to frame itself almost like a historical recounting of some fantasy hero's life only for the rug to be pulled out from under us to reveal that it is yet another Isekai. I would argue our lead adapts to his newfound reality a little too quickly, making it his goal to make the most of his world as he learns more about it. However, he seems to have a relatively firm moral compass, and it's easy to sympathize with him when you consider the fact that he did in fact have a lot of things to leave behind when he died in Japan. I kind of wish the book expanded upon that a little bit more, but there is arguably room for that down the road in this epic saga. The story of this one is more about our 41 year old lead taking on and accepting the new 7 year old son of a noble persona that he has been born into. It seems as though the manga is going for a sort of “descent from humanity'' type of approach as each chapter inches our lead closer and closer to the type of life that this new body he finds himself in might have ended up going in the first place. While a little standard if you've read other stories like this, I did find myself at least a little bit intrigued by where this man would end up going should he continue down this path since the story also has a surprising amount of heart behind it. As long as it doesn't lose that, I will definitely be on the lookout for more of this story.

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